The Israeli government has effectively voted to give the New Israel Fund and its co-founder and ex-president, Naomi Chazan, influence over policies – including foreign policy, defense and internal security – and over a virtually unlimited range of appointments to key positions in the public and private sectors.
The vote was held in December, but managed to fly under the radar of nationalist media. It was the culmination of an extended, three-year campaign by Naomi Chazan and NIF-linked women's organizations, that included numerous conferences, publications and media productions.
The government decided to establish “a general operative plan for assimilating a variety of women in decisionmaking hubs, protection of women and strengthening their security, assimilation of gender-based thinking and equal opportunities in all spheres of life,” wrote Globes on December 14. “The background for this decision is the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 from 2000.”
Resolution 1325 calls, among other things, for women's participation in peace negotiations and in post-conflict reconstruction. Israel is the first UN member to incorporate parts of UNSCR 1325 and related resolutions in its national legislation, in a 2005 amendment to the Equality of Women's Rights Law, which mandates the participation of women in committees and teams in all policy fields (including peace negotiations), and requires representation of women from “diverse social groups” – a formulation that is usually used by the Left for mandating the appointment of Arabs.
As part of the decision, it was stipulated that an inter-ministerial team would be established under the Head of the Authority for Advancement of Women's Status in the Prime Minister's Office, Vered Swid. The team, which will include representatives from the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry for Public Security, among others, is to write up an operative plan that will be presented to the government by May, which will include actions, schedules and budgets for implementation of UNSC 1325.
The project for advancing an action plan for implementing UNSCR 1325 in Israel, adds Globes, “was led by Itach-Maaki (Women Lawyers for Social Justice), Shavot – the Center for Advancement of Women in the Public Sphere in the Van Leer Institute (WIPS), and Anu-Lehitchaber, with the cooperation of dozens of feminist organizations and activists.”
All of the bodies mentioned above have clear links to Chazan and the NIF:
The Authority for Advancement of Women's Status in the Prime Minister's office was established by Naomi Chazan in 1998, and Chazan has been the chairwoman of the Authority's Advisory Committee for many years. The Advisory Committee includes numerous other representatives from NIF-linked groups.
Itach-Maaki is an NIF organization composed of Jewish and Arab female lawyers, while WIPS is co-chaired by Naomi Chazan.
"Anu" is the new name of "Agenda", a NIF organization that deals with the media.
What this means, in practice, is that under the guise of appointing women “of diverse social backgrounds,” Chazan and the NIF will be able to steer the government into appointing Arab women to “decisionmaking hubs” throughout the public and private sectors, with a special emphasis on committees and teams dealing with “peace negotiations.”
In addition, the “assimilation of gender-based thinking” is a cryptic phrase often used by gender activists, as code for pacifistic and anti-militaristic positions. The best example of the use of this type of rhetoric to influence policy was the 1999-2000 Four Mothers campaign that pressured the government of Ehud Barak to withdraw from the Security Zone in Lebanon, supposedly because “gender-based thinking” mandated it. The hurried and undignified way in which that withdrawal was implemented was, according to many analysts, a key factor in Yasser Arafat's decision to launch the massive terror war sometimes referred to as the "Second Intifada".
Chazan herself celebrated the decision on her Times of Israel blog, and explained that it also requires each government ministry to select at least one area for review "through a gender lens" immediately and to adjust its 2015 plan accordingly:
This means, she explained, "that if the objective of a program is to strengthen the periphery and disadvantaged groups and the goal is to develop the economic infrastructure in these areas, then one of the tasks would be to expand the companies owned by minorities and the indicator for success would be a rise in the number headed by Arab women."
Responding to Arutz Sheva, a spokeswoman for the NIF and Chazan dismissed the above claims as "ridiculous" and a "fairy-tail version of the facts".
"This plan was passed unanimously and initiated by the Prime Minister's office," said Naomi Paiss, the NIF's Vice President of Public Affairs. "It's a major achievement for women across the political spectrum; ask Limor Livnat or Aliza Lavie or Merav Michaeli.
"Yes, Naomi Chazan has pushed to include more women at the highest levels of government and more power to her for that. This was initiated in her legislation first supported by Prime Minister Netanyahu during his first term in the late nineties.
"The New Israel Fund supports expanding opportunities for all Israeli women - secular, religious, left, right, Jewish and Arab."